This Breathtaking Scenic Area in Oregon is a Half Day Drive From Tri-Cities
At first glance, you might think the images are from Utah’s Zion Canyon – in fact, most residents of the Pacific Northwest find it hard to believe this scenic byway is in Oregon - in the Owyhee Canyonlands to be exact. So, keep reading - if you’re an outdoorsy type of person - you’re going to want to know more about Leslie Gulch in southeast Oregon near the town of Jordan Valley. And, it’s less than a day’s drive from anywhere in Washington, Oregon, or northern California.
A brief history of Leslie Gulch
According to the Bureau of Land Management, the area was formed about 15 million years ago by volcanic sediments from distant volcano eruptions which created layers and layers of sandstone and conglomerates (rock composed of rounded fragments). Leslie Gulch and Succor Creek’s early inhabitants were Native Americans – the Paiute Indians. The area was originally called Upper Dugout Gulch but was renamed Leslie Gulch in 1882 - after cattle rancher, Hiram Leslie, who, while herding cattle in the area, was struck and killed by lightning.
What you’ll see when you drive and hike in the Leslie Gulch-Succor Creek National Back Country.
The 52-mile Leslie Gulch-Succor Creek Byway is mostly dirt and gravel and is suitable for most two-wheel drive vehicles. You’ll drive up and down steep grades and through narrow areas with only a few turnouts. Large camper trailers and RVs are strongly discouraged. The byway is only maintained during the spring, summer, and fall months, and it is not recommended for use during the winter or when it’s wet or snow-covered.
You’ll see majestic terrain with amazing rock formations that will take your breath away. And, during the warmer months, you’ll likely see pronghorn antelope, mule deer, hawks, California big horn sheep, and coyotes. Also, be on the lookout for lizards and rattlesnakes. Have someone with a camera ready at all times.
Tips from the Bureau of Land Management before entering the gulch.
A few things to check before you begin your trip – be sure you have a full tank of fuel and your radiator is full of coolant, check your spare tire, and that you have the tools to change it. Other recommended items: flashlights, food, water, a phone charging cord, sunscreen, shoes for the terrain, and a basic first aid kit. If you plan to camp, do it in the Succor Creek State Recreational and Leslie Gulch areas (restrooms and drinking water are located at Succor Creek only).
Are there hiking trails in Leslie Gulch?
Yes, the area is a hiker's dream with multiple trails and viewpoints to explore – for the beginner and the experienced hiker. To learn more about hiking the area check out the Oregon Hikers website or All Trails Oregon – both have great recommendations.
The Timber Gulch Canyon Road is amazing. Check out this Tik-Tok post from @blueyez92xo.
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